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FY23 Formula DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Grant

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $471,541)

The Tucson Police Department Crime Laboratory (TPDCL) DNA Unit’s backlog is affected by various demands for processing cases, to include yearly increases in submissions and the need to fulfill state legislation requiring timely submission of all sexual assault kits (SAKs) for DNA analysis.  The workflow for DNA analysis of SAKs requires a specialized approach, which the DNA Unit has prioritized with its limited resources.  Homicides, particularly those going to trial and those with outstanding suspects posing a public safety risk, are also prioritized.    

The FY23 CEBR grant will allow TPDCL to fund two Evidence Examination Specialists (EES) assigned to the DNA Unit and two DNA Criminalist positions, including salary and employee related expenses (EREs), to screen/sample and analyze backlogged DNA cases, respectively.  The funding of these positions will greatly contribute to increasing the capacity of the Unit to provide forensic DNA services, as well as help the Unit reduce the number of homicide and sexual assault cases awaiting DNA analysis. It is expected that each EES will screen/sample 110 cases consisting of approximately 550 items and that each DNA Criminalist will annually analyze 110 cases consisting of approximately 550 samples.  These employees will focus on homicides and sexual assaults with the goal of obtaining DNA profiles eligible for entry into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). 

The DNA Unit currently utilizes one nearly 10-year-old capillary electrophoresis (CE) genetic analyzer for casework.  Given this, it is imperative to plan for the replacement of this critical instrument.  The FY23 CEBR will help the DNA Unit ensure it can continue to deliver forensic services without interruptions, while expanding its capacity. 

The FY23 CEBR grant will fund the purchase of laboratory supplies to support the increase in staffing and their efforts, to include the purchase of DNA extraction, quantitation, and amplification kits. 

Finally, travel to the mandatory annual 2-day workshop will be funded for one member of the TPDCLs’ grant management team.

It is expected that the FY23 CEBR grant will help the Laboratory decrease the DNA case backlog in violent and sexually motivated crimes by increasing DNA staff, instrumentation, and supplies to process DNA samples and enter them into CODIS.

Date Created: September 8, 2023